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Porcupine Tree - Coma Divine CD (album) cover

COMA DIVINE

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.44 | 453 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Radio activity

Porcupine Tree are an excellent live act. Visually there's not a lot of excitement, but the band are masters of their craft. As on their studio albums, Steve Wilson is very much the front man, with the other band members generally playing something of a supporting role. In an interview, Steve Wilson makes it clear that it is he who decides what the band will play, and how the tracks will be played. This will often mean that the tracks will vary, sometimes substantially from those which appeared on studio albums. "Coma divine" confirms that Wilson's judgement in such matters can be relied upon.

"Coma Divine" is the band's first official live album, and hence draws its tracks from their earlier, more progressive albums such as "Signify" and "The sky moved sideways". The album was originally released as a single CD, but the version to go for now is the remastered one, which runs to 2 CDs and adds about another 25 minutes of material. Three of the extra four tracks had previously been released as a very limited edition EP called "Coma Divine II". All the recordings are taken from concerts which took place in Rome, Italy over three nights in 1997, with overdubs being added later. The recordings were made by a local radio station for broadcasting locally.

The standout track for me is "Radioactive toy", originally from the uneven first album, even if it does include some basic audience participation. Running to over 15 minutes, it is the most acidic and powerful track here. That power though is present throughout the album, right from the opening "Signify", driven along by the fact that these performances rely significantly on the band environment (rather than Wilson alone).

Tracks such as "Waiting" and "The sky moved sideways (part 1)" retain the facets which distinguished the studio versions, while sounding fresh and perhaps improved when played live. Richard Barbieri takes the opportunity, particularly on TSMS, to add some wonderful extra colours.

While many live albums add little or nothing to a band's studio catalogue, the same cannot be said for "Coma Divine". This is essential listening, not just for fans of the band, but as an introduction to the music of Porcupine Tree for the unconverted.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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